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Government to end requirement for boozers to make a meal of it


The requirement to have a “substantial meal” – whatever that is – with your pint is to be ditched when the pubs reopen, according to newspaper reports.

Word has leaked out that the prime minister, Boris Johnson, is planning to reveal on February 22 what restrictions will be lifted, and the bar talk is that the confusing requirement to put on the nose bag and tuck into some nosh if you want to enjoy some alcohol in a pub, bar or restaurant will not be retained when food & drink establishments reopen.

The previous requirement caused a good deal of confusion, with opinions, even among cabinet ministers, differing on what constituted a “substantial meal”.

In the opinion of some, a Scotch egg qualified (presumably with superfluous garnish) but 10 packs of smoky bacon crisps did not.

The Times reports that the new regulations are still being discussed – possibly over a glass of port and a nice bit of stilton – but the current expectation is that outside markets will get the nod to reopen before non-essential high street shops do, while outside eating will be allowed whereas dining indoors will not.

All of this is scheduled to happen after the kids go back to school, which is expected to happen no sooner than March 8.

Shares in pub operators JD Wetherspoon (LON:JDW) and Marston’s (LON:MARS) were up 4% and 5% respectively, while City Pub Group PLC (LON:CPC) jumped over 12% to 116.74p.

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